I was suitably alarmed by the tone of innuendo in Michael Duffy’s
article in the SMH (12 November 2005). Hence this letter. I am
almost sure that Michael Duffy would be the first one to jump up
and down and claim an Australian victory if an “Australian” of
Indian origin or Chinese origin won the 100m freestyle at the
next Olympics. Indeed, have we not celebrated Kostya Tszyu’s
victories in boxing as “Australian”? Why, we even claim Russell
Crowe’s Oscar as an “Australian” Oscar! Pray why the double
standards when it comes to excellence in education and in the
Instead of learning from and applauding the Asian value systems,
which place extraordinary emphasis on a strong work ethic, erudition,
scholarship, exemplar social behaviour, professional/moral integrity
and a strong will to succeed in their adopted homeland, Duffy seems
to have, perhaps, gone down the route of paranoia.
Sentences like “a nation's elite has invited another group to come
in and replace it” demonstrate a mix of shallowness and a degree of
patronization that is potentially damaging. Immigration policy is
not a zero-sum-game, which it would be if “replacement” was a
mantra. It is about how we grow the pie to a substantially different
size than it would otherwise be. Kostya Tszyu did not “replace” an
Australian boxer. He added to the existing medal chest.
Just as the European migrants contributed strongly to Australian
society in their own unique ways, the current wave of Asian
immigrants will shape Australia as she moves into a brave new
world. Let us embrace it like America has and move forward with
purpose and vision.
I point Duffy to an article in Business Week by Abigail Ann Fraeman
(March 21 2005). In it, she talks about how new migrants offer an
opportunity to celebrate their personal successes even as they make
a “significant difference in their new country”. That is the
opportunity that is offered by Duffy’s Asians that “aspire urgently
to enter the middle class”.
A healthy public debate and discussion on this topic would be
necessary and great. But let us carry it out in an environment
of the opportunity that is afforded rather than one of paranoia.
Tuesday, November 15, 2005
Letter to SMH
Mike Duffy wrote an opinion-piece in the Sydney Morning Herald on The Changing Face of Our Professional Elite in Australia. It bothered me enough to write the following "Letter" to the editor of SMH. Don't know if it will be published but, here it is anyway!